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Safeguarding Research Activity:
Ensuring Transparency, Integrity, and Reciprocity

 

Note: This information and guideline portal will be updated continuously as we continue to get more information. (Last Updated June 2, 2021)

Agency Specific Disclosure Requirements


In August 2018, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Francis Collins issued a Foreign Influence Letter to Grantees and testified to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee regarding concerns about systematic programs of foreign influence in U.S. research.

NIH Protecting U.S. Biomedical Intellectual Innovation WebPage [NEW 7.16.2020]

NIH and the biomedical research enterprise have a long history of International collaborations with rules of engagement that allow science to advance while also protecting intellectual capital and proprietary information of the participating countries. These rules of engagement also are designed to limit bias in the design, conduct, and reporting of NIH-supported research. This page describes actions that NIH, institutions, and researchers can take to protect U.S. biomedical intellectual innovation. The principles described here align with those announced by the White House's Office and Science and Technology Policy in June 2020.

NIH Director Collins Dear Colleague Foreign Influence Letter

In December 2018 and June 2019, the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) released a report entitled ACD Working Group for Foreign Influences on Research Integrity identifying recommendations around communication and awareness; risk mitigation; and monitoring, actions, and consequences.

Other Support: Expanded List of Reportable Items

In July, NIH issued NOT-OD-19-114 clarifying and reminding the research community of NIH policies on Other Support and Foreign Components.

Reminders of NIH Policies on Other Support and on Policies related to Financial Conflicts of Interest and Foreign Components NOT-OD-19-114 July 10, 2019
Reminders of NIH Policies on Other Support and on Policies related to Financial Conflicts of Interest and Foreign Components NOT-OD-19-114 July 10, 2019


The updated definition includes “all resources made available to a researcher in support of and/or related to all of their research endeavors, regardless of whether they have monetary value and regardless of whether they are based at the institution the researcher identifies for the current grant.” It should be noted that in their FAQs, NIH indicates that foreign collaborations that “directly benefit” an investigator’s research must be reported even if the investigator is not involved and the project is not funded with NIH dollars.

What, Where, & When to Submit

What to Disclose Where to Disclose When to Disclose
Outside Appointments, both paid and unpaid Biosketch Proposal, RPPR
International Collaborations with a Foreign Component
  • Proposal: Other Project Information section on SF424 RR
  • Correspondence with NIH Grants Management Officer
  • Proposal
  • On active awards, International Collaborations must be pre-approved by NIH Grants Management Officer
Related sources of support including post-docs and visiting scholars funded by foreign sources, in kind resources provided by other institutions, and foreign grants the investigators Other Support Proposal, RPPR
International Collaborators in your lab (not key personnel) Personnel report in RPPR RPPR only if effort exceeds month
Outside professional activities, including financial interests received from a foreign entity. This requirement is distinct and in addition to the reporting of other support and foreign components to the NIH.  UNM conflict of interest in research disclosure. at the time of the proposal submission, annually, and/or within 30 days of any material changes, acquiring new interest/s, or commencing new activity that merits disclosure.

National Science Foundation [NSF]

NSF Pre-award and Post-award Disclosures Relating to the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support - Posted 6/15/2021

NSF Commissioned JASON Report

NSF commissioned the report to enhance the agency’s understanding of the threats to basic research posed by foreign governments that have taken actions that violate the principles of scientific ethics and research integrity. With the official receipt of the report, NSF will now begin the process of analyzing its findings and recommendations.

NEWS ALERT: US National Science Foundation reveals first details on foreign-influence investigations [NEW July 2020] https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02051-8

“The US National Science Foundation (NSF) has for the first time released figures on the actions it has taken against researchers found to have violated rules on the disclosure of foreign ties. Since 2018, the agency has reassigned, suspended or terminated grants, forced institutions to return funds or barred researchers from applying for future funding in 16–20 cases in which rules weren’t followed, according to Rebecca Keiser, the agency’s first chief of research security strategy and policy. All of these were cases in which the NSF’s Office of Inspector General, an independent body responsible for oversight of the agency and its grant recipients, had investigated and made recommendations on how to handle sanctions. Separately, the inspector-general referred an undisclosed number of criminal and civil cases involving fraud and nondisclosure to the US Department of Justice. Furthermore, in the past two months, seven universities have contacted the NSF directly with information on faculty members who might have violated rules.”

NSF- Statement of The National Science Board on Security and Science October 23, 2018 NSB-2018-42

Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide January 2020

NSF Dear Colleague Research Protection Letter 7.11.19

The NSF Dear Colleague letter outlined a few steps it is taking to mitigate the risks in concert with other agencies and stakeholders. Highlights from the letter:

  • Citizenship Requirements
    • To ensure that NSF is applying consistent standards to all staff members, each of whom has access to sensitive merit review and other information, we issued a requirement in April 2018 that rotators working onsite at NSF must be U.S. citizens or have applied for U.S. citizenship.
  • Disclosure Requirements
    • Since 1978, NSF has required senior project personnel on proposals to disclose all sources of support, both foreign and domestic.
  • Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide
    • A renewed effort is now underway to ensure that existing requirements to disclose current and pending support information are known, understood, and followed.
    • For example, in May, we published in the Federal Register a proposed clarification of our proposal disclosure requirements (open for public comment through July 29). Our draft NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide includes clarifications regarding reporting requirements for both current and pending support and professional appointments.
    • To streamline the process for providing these disclosures to NSF, we are proposing use of an electronic format for submission of biographical sketches, including disclosure of all appointments. As currently envisioned, this will become effective in January 2020. We are also working to develop an electronic format for disclosure of current and pending support information.
  • Foreign Government Talent Programs
    • Finally, we are issuing a policy making it clear that NSF personnel and IPAs detailed to NSF cannot participate in foreign government talent recruitment programs. There is a risk that participation in foreign government talent recruitment programs by NSF personnel and IPAs will compromise the ethical principles that bind us. Moreover, such participation poses significant risks of inappropriate foreign influence on NSF policies, programs, and priorities, including the integrity of NSF's merit review process—risks we simply cannot accept.

What to Disclose Where to Disclose When to Disclose
Outside Appointments, both paid and unpaid Biosketch Proposal, RPPR
Research, training and or education carried out with international counterparts either overseas or using virtual technologies Cover sheet (list countries), Project narrative Proposal
Funding of a foreign organization including subaward or consultant arrangements as part of award Cover Sheet Proposal OR Requires Prior approval
Unfunded substantial international collaborations Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources and letter of collaboration
Organizations that have been involved as partners and full details of organizations involved as partners
Proposal
Other sources of support for research including support to UNM and support directly to the individual (office/laboratory space, equipment, supplies, employees, students) Current and Pending Support Proposal, RPPR
International Collaborators in your lab (not key personnel) Personnel report in RPPR RPPR only if effort exceeds month
Outside professional activities, including financial interests received from a foreign entity. This requirement is distinct and in addition to the reporting of other support and foreign components to the NIH.  UNM conflict of interest in research disclosure. at the time of the proposal submission, annually, and/or within 30 days of any material changes, acquiring new interest/s, or commencing new activity that merits disclosure.

 

Department of Defense [DOD]

Department of Defense Letter raising awareness of efforts to combat foreign influences on research integrity. he letter highlights the efforts of JCORE - Joint Committee on the Research Environment

"In his September 16, 2019. letter to the research community. Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), described a new OSTP-led interagency Joint Committee on the Research Environment (JCORE).

DoD is an active participant in JCORE, and in its sub-committee on Research Security, which is initially focused on coordinating four lines of Federal effort:

  1. coordinating outreach and engagement
  2. disclosure requirements for participation in federally funded research
  3. best practices for academic research institutions
  4. methods for identification, assessment, and management of risk

This work will help agencies that fund Federal research to develop common standards for identifying and adjudicating conflicts of interest and conflicts of commitment from these disclosures. It will also help agencies that fund Federal research to clarify consequences for failing to make these disclosures."

Department of Defense Memo - Actions for the Protection of Intellectual Property, Controlled Information, Key Personnel and Critical March 20, 2019

“The National Defense Authorization Act (NOAA) for FY 2019, Section 1286, pages 443- 445, directs the Secretary of Defense to establish an initiative to work with academic institutions who perform defense research and engineering activities: 1. To support protection of intellectual property, controlled information, key personnel, and information about critical technologies relevant to national security; and 2. To limit undue influence, including through foreign talent programs, by countries to exploit United States technology within the Department of Defense research, science and technology, and innovation enterprise.”

Prohibition on Procurement of Foreign-Made Unmanned Aircraft Systems [DARS Tracking Number: 2020-O0015] [NEW May 29, 2020]

Effective immediately, unless an exception applies or a waiver is granted, contracting officers shall not enter into or renew a contract for the procurement of—

  • An unmanned aircraft system (UAS), or any related services or equipment, that—
    • Is manufactured in the People’s Republic of China or by an entity domiciled in the People’s Republic of China;
    • Uses flight controllers, radios, data transmission devices, cameras, or gimbals manufactured in the People’s Republic of China or by an entity domiciled in the People’s Republic of China;
    • Uses a ground control system or operating software developed in the People’s Republic of China or by an entity domiciled in the People’s Republic of China; or
    • Uses network connectivity or data storage located in, or administered by an entity domiciled in, the People’s Republic of China; or
  • A system for the detection or identification of a UAS, or any related services or equipment, that is manufactured—
    • In the People’s Republic of China; or
    • By an entity domiciled in the People’s Republic of China.

This prohibition does not apply to procurements for the purposes of: counter-UAS surrogate testing and training; or intelligence, electronic warfare, and information warfare operations, testing, analysis, and training.
This class deviation implements the procurement prohibition under section 848 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (Pub. L. 116-92).


What to Disclose Where to Disclose When to Disclose
Outside Appointments, both paid and unpaid Biosketch Proposal
Related sources of support Other Support Proposal
Outside professional activities, including financial interests received from a foreign entity. This requirement is distinct and in addition to the reporting of other support and foreign components to the NIH.  UNM conflict of interest in research disclosure. at the time of the proposal submission, annually, and/or within 30 days of any material changes, acquiring new interest/s, or commencing new activity that merits disclosure.

On December 13, 2019, DOE issued Order 142.3A that removed an exemption to a foreign national approval process for institutions of higher education. Prior to this change, institutions of higher education were not required to obtain DOE approvals for foreign national participants conducting fundamental research.

On September 4, 2020, DOE issued Order 486.1A. DOE t has included a requirement in certain awards that require their review and approval of all foreign nationals (as defined by DOE, anyone who is not a U.S. citizen by birth or naturalization) supporting the project. This requires submission of additional documentation to DOE for each foreign national on the project.

A separate policy covering university-based grantees is expected to follow. It should be noted that DOE views participation in a foreign talent program a conflict of interest that needs to be reported.


What to Disclose Where to Disclose When to Disclose
Identification of Potential Conflict of Interest

Proposal: BioSketch

Proposal
Foreign Talents program Proposal: Current and Pending Support. Proposal

The Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a letter to the research community on September 16, 2019 regarding efforts to ensure openness, transparency, reciprocity, and security in international scientific collaborations. OSTP is working on:

  1. coordinating outreach and engagement with Federal agencies, academic research institutions, companies, non-governmental organizations, researchers, and students;
  2. establishing and coordinating disclosure requirements for participation in federally funded projects;
  3. developing best practices for academic research institutions; and
  4. developing methods for identification, assessment, and management of risk.

Other Support


NIH

NIH issued Guide Notice NOT-OD-19-114 on July 10, 2019 to remind investigators about the need to report foreign and domestic activities relevant to their sponsored projects through careful documentation of other support, foreign components, and adherence to financial conflict of interest reporting processes.

NIH requires this information to prevent scientific, budgetary, or commitment overlap, and to ensure proper oversight of financial conflicts of interest before and while NIH funds are being expended. NIH views these updated instructions as “clarifications” rather than policy changes, although in practice there do seem to be some significant revisions, including:

Please ensure that you are properly reporting to NIH. Please review this Guide Notice and its accompanying FAQs carefully so that your NIH proposals, just-in-time submissions, and continuation progress reports are fully accurate and complete. As a PI/PD or as senior/key personnel, note that you remain personally responsible for the completeness and accuracy of your documents, even if departmental research administrative staff have assisted you in document preparation.

NSF

NSF issued a Dear Colleague Letter: Research Protection on July 11, 2019 clarifying multiple steps NSF is taking to mitigate risks from “activities threatening our research community, such as certain foreign-government-sponsored talent recruitment programs.” NSF has proposed clarification of the proposal disclosure requirements and reporting requirements for both current and pending support and professional appointments. Those clarifications are included in the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (NSF 20-1). Effective January 2020, NSF also proposes to use an electronic format for submission of biographical sketches, including disclosure of all appointments, and disclosure of current and pending support information.

DOE

On December 13, 2019, DOE issued Order 142.3A that removed an exemption to a foreign national approval process for institutions of higher education. Prior to this change, institutions of higher education were not required to obtain DOE approvals for foreign national participants conducting fundamental research.

On September 4, 2020, DOE issued Order 486.1A. DOE t has included a requirement in certain awards that require their review and approval of all foreign nationals (as defined by DOE, anyone who is not a U.S. citizen by birth or naturalization) supporting the project. This requires submission of additional documentation to DOE for each foreign national on the project.

A separate policy covering university-based grantees is expected to follow. It should be noted that DOE views participation in a foreign talent program a conflict of interest that needs to be reported.

DoD

DOD released a letter on October 10, 2019 addressed to the academic community describing threats to our collaborative research environment by foreign governments and outlining steps taken by DOD and other federal agencies to protect the integrity of the research enterprise. Specifically, DOD reiterates the need for research personnel to fully disclose conflicts of interest and commitment as follows: “all research and research-related educational activities conducted through DOD research grants, cooperative agreements, technology investment agreements, and other non-procurement transactions require key-personnel to disclose all current and pending projects, time commitments to other projects, and funding sources at the time of application.”

OSTP

The Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a letter to the research community on September 16, 2019 regarding efforts to ensure openness, transparency, reciprocity, and security in international scientific collaborations. OSTP is working on: (i) coordinating outreach and engagement with Federal agencies, academic research institutions, companies, non-governmental organizations, researchers, and students; (ii) establishing and coordinating disclosure requirements for participation in federally funded projects; (iii) developing best practices for academic research institutions; and (iv) developing methods for identification, assessment, and management of risk.

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